At the Farm! Friday

The last time I was back at the farm, my little nephew and I hopped on the 4-wheeler and tooled around the farm and fields a bit.  Of course, we had to check out the cattle.

While looking at the ladies, I decided to also take some pictures of the crops.

When traveling around the countryside, the fields at our farm don't look like many of the neighboring fields or what you typically think a field should look like. 

What usually comes to mind is seeing freshly turned, rich, black soil.  Well, in Iowa at least.  :)

However, at our family farm, that isn't the case anymore.  {Yes, it use to be though}

Now days, my dad and brother farm in a way that is called no-till and strip-till.

 What is this exactly?  Well, now it is time for your agriculture lesson...or Farming 100.  :)

No-till farming {according to Wikipedia} is a way of growing crops from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till is an agricultural technique which increases the amount of water and organic matter (nutrients) in the soil and decreases erosion. It increases the amount and variety of life in and on the soil but may require herbicide usage.

Reasons and benefits to no-till farming:
Save the expense of tilling.
Reduces both water and wind erosion.
Fewer passes through the fields.
Farmers don't need as big of tractors as they do when tilling.
There is less equipment needed.
Which results in less investment.
With fewer passes through the fields, that also results in less fuel being used in the fall and spring.
Less compaction of the ground due to reduced trips in the field.

My dad and brother {and yes, even myself} have not seen any negative affects to the yields coming from the fields.  In fact, one of the first years of harvesting commercial corn from a previously bean field that was no-till, I remember calling dad with a concern about the yield monitor.  The instant yield count was at 300 bushels, and stayed on that number for a long time.  Eventually, it did go down a bit and started fluctuating again.  Come to find out, after dad made a few phone calls, 300 bushels/acre was as high as the monitor could read.  {Which I believe has changed now days.}  But in the end, the yield counts are still high, even without the extra tillage.

Another benefit of no-till in bean fields, not as much spraying is needed.  Tilling a corn field after harvest will incorporate any remaining corn in the soil, allowing it to grow.  But with no-till, the seeds sit on top of the ground, and eventually rot.  So there is no need to spray the volunteer corn from the bean fields.

I have more to say on this subject, but I will save it for another day.....Farming 101. 

I hope you all have a fun and enjoyable 4th of July weekend!  It's going to be a HOT one here in Iowa.

I am NOT looking forward to that.  I am one of very few people I know that would much rather be cold than hot.  My theory....I can always add clothes if I'm cold.

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